What is NICU Awareness Month?
Do you know what NICU stands for? The answer is the neonatal intensive care unit. September is NICU Awareness Month. It is a time to honor families experiencing a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) stay and the health professionals who care for them. NICU Awareness Month is also a time to educate people about the NICU and discuss how time spent in the NICU impacts families, no matter the duration.
From the moment you find out you’re pregnant, you instantly celebrate and hope that you have a healthy baby and textbook labor and delivery. While it may happen for some, others are not as fortunate. The unexpected happens, your baby is in the NICU and you are trying to “figure it all out”, while constantly wondering “why my baby?”. The NICU can be a scary and stressful place which may leave you feeling isolated and sad but it doesn’t have to be.
With a team of healthcare professionals in place, they are there to guide and support you, your family and most importantly, your NICU baby. A NICU stay may be short-lived or quite long, yet however long it is, it is no easy feat. It impacts the entire family. It is crucial that you reach out to local resources, graciously accept help from family and friends and set time aside to take care of YOU.
During NICU Awareness Month there are observance days and they include:
- September 26th – NICU Remembrance Day. A day to honor the lives of little ones gone too soon and their loving families.
- September 27th – NICU Giving Day. A day dedicated to giving back to your local NICU. You can host a donation drive to support NICU parents, provide and serve meals at your local NICU, help ease financial stress through various donations to NICU families, thank your NICU staff, join a peer-to-peer support group and more!
- September 28th – NICU Staff Recognition Day. A day to honor all NICU medical staff that provide exceptional care to their precious patients around the clock. You can show your love and support by writing a heartfelt note or bringing in a small gift as a token of your appreciation.
- September 29th – Sibling Support Day. A day to honor all NICU siblings. They need love, support, and reassurance on this journey as well.
- September 30th – Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness Day. A day to honor all babies that have experienced a NICU stay. There are numerous ways to celebrate this day in your community. Visit your baby’s NICU or a local NICU, host an event, create a fundraiser in your baby’s name, share your story, wear the color green and so much more.
The swaddle4swaddle program is designed to provide swaddle blankets for babies in the NICU or a pediatric cancer center. The idea for swaddle4swaddle originated when Audrey & Bear’s founder, Rachel Quarnberg, had a nephew in the NICU. Born with several complications, he spent several months in the NICU and the experience really hit close to home for the Quarnberg family. Knowing, in a small way, how difficult a NICU stay can be, Audrey & Bear wanted to help. And help is exactly what Audrey & Bear did. After getting several orders from parents and caregivers of babies in the NICU and pediatric cancer centers, Audrey & Bear felt there was a calling to “do good”. Swaddle4swaddle was born at that moment, providing swaddle blankets to babies in the NICU and pediatric cancer centers for free. With a mission to celebrate the miracle of a child’s life and bring comfort to NICU families during a difficult time, swaddle4swaddle rises above and beyond to deliver just that.
While this is a small gesture, it is one that has been very meaningful to NICU families and Audrey & Bear as well. Swaddle4swaddle continues to be possible in part because of you. Please join swaddle4swaddle in this effort…all you have to do is order! For every swaddle blanket purchased, a similar blanket is donated to a baby in the NICU or pediatric cancer center. The hope is that people will continue to support swaddle4swaddle and the sweet babies and families in need.
If you know a baby in the NICU and want to nominate them so they can receive a swaddle blanket, please click here. Here’s a list of all the participating hospitals. If you don’t see your hospital or a hospital on the list that you’d like to see our swaddle4swaddle program at, you may nominate a hospital by emailing Sonia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Swaddle4swaddle is a huge part of why Audrey & Bear is a success and attracts the attention of our customers. Audrey & Bear is humbled by the outreach of support, kind words, and donations. Across the country, our swaddles are touching the lives of NICU babies and families and for that reason, we are grateful beyond measure.
First-hand accounts of our Audrey & Bear community members
Our Audrey & Bear community is filled with mothers and mother-to-be that all have a story to share and a mission when it comes to their bundles of joy. We want to highlight our NICU moms. There is no better way to hear about how our swaddles and swaddle4swaddle program impact NICU families during this difficult time, from none other than our NICU moms.
Hartley was born April 15th at 23.5 weeks following a placental abruption. My husband and I were suddenly thrust into a very clinical world full of wires, alarms, and scary statistics. Through a nomination, we received a swaddle4swaddle blanket. It was one of the first things Hartley had that was hers in the NICU. Her skin was still so sensitive so it was the perfect material to drape over her during our kangaroo care times. The comfort it brought me inspired us to purchase two swaddles so that two more would be donated to other NICU babies. The designer worked with us to get Hartley’s swaddles perfect. The nurses always compliment them. Hartley is now past her due date and they still make the perfect swaddle. We are nearing the end of our NICU journey and we purchased an additional swaddle to use in her car seat as her going home gift. We love Audrey and Bear and their Swaddle4swaddle program!
This is my baby boy! My little 25 weeker, my 14 Oz Wonder. We spend 129 days in the NICU in San Diego (Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns) and we were so fortunate to receive one of the swaddle4swaddle blankets from Audrey & Bear. I absolutely loved this swaddle from day one. He was so small in the beginning... we had to wait 39 days to be able to hold him. But we would put the swaddle inside his isolate to make it look nice. And then when we were able to swaddle him it was my his favorite because it gave him such a snug fit and made him feel comfortable. For a long time after we came home from the NICU I wanted to get him his own. I wasn’t able to until recently and he absolutely loves it. It has “tarsh” ⭐️. I could not thank Audrey & bear enough for what they do with the swaddle4swaddle program. For many of us, it brings so much light into a very dark moment in our lives. It was one of the first things I owned for him... since I was so scared that he wasn’t going to make it... I didn’t buy things... this swaddle gave me hope.
I just approved his second big kids blanket for him to take to preschool with him... and I can’t wait for it to get here! My maiden last name is De Leon(which means a lion in Spanish). I’ve always told him he has the strength of a lion so when the watercolor lion print came out I just knew I had to get it for him.
“Look at how far he has come! Now a big boy and loving his big kid Audrey & Bear blanket!”
When we got our prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome for our sweet Josephine, the doctors prepared us that a NICU stay could happen. Two days after Joey made her arrival, she was brought up to the special care nursery for feeding difficulties. Little did we know, her stay would last for 6 weeks while the doctors sorted out how best to feed her without it impacting her breathing. During our stay, my amazing friends sent us an Audrey & Bear blanket for Joey. It was a hit in the NICU! Even though our girl was stuck in the hospital, this blanket provided a sense of home and was a welcomed change from those hospital blankets! It also sparked great conversations with hospital staff that we otherwise wouldn’t have had. Now that Joey is home with us, her blanket is a reminder of the progress she has made since those first several weeks. Thank you, Audrey & Bear!
When I was pregnant with my son Leo I remember looking online for a swaddle I could customize with his name that wasn't crazy expensive. I went on Etsy and found Audrey and Bear. I read their story about the swaddle4swaddle program and I thought "awh that's nice." Little did I know, I would soon be using one of those donated blankets. "Leo" was born 3 months early. I went into a regular ultrasound and the doctors seemed like they were panicking. They told me his heart wasn’t looking too good and he was measuring 4 weeks behind. They sent me to do a stress test before I could go home. During the stress test they found out my contractions were really close together and Leo's heart was dropping. I delivered him at 28 weeks 4 days. He was only 1lb 10oz.
I was so scared. But somehow knowing that a company like Audrey and Bear know that babies go to the NICU made me feel like there was someone else praying for us. One of the times I went to visit Leo I saw him sleeping so comfortably and relaxed. He usually hated having his hands swaddled, but this time he was happy. I checked the swaddle and to my surprise… it was Audrey and Bear! I was literally so happy, I started telling everyone in the NICU to look them up. I just wanted to say thank you for all that you do. The fact that a company like yours donates to NICUs in need makes me so, so happy. I can’t wait to order more swaddles so I can do my part.
A big heartfelt thank you to Taylor Moon, Aldy Serrano, Ashley Kraus and Victoria Real for sharing your stories with all of us. We are honored to be a part of your journey and take comfort in knowing our swaddles touched your lives when you needed it most.